Welcome to the Texas Stadium, where the 49ers are making their final appearance. Check here early and often for all the news and notes from today’s 49ers-Cowboys game.
Mike Singletary has an opportunity to impress a lot of people today. Of course, he has a chance to become the 49ers’ head coach in 2009. But if Singletary’s 49ers were to win today, might it make an impact with Jerry Jones?
In speaking with some people who cover the Cowboys at lunch, the thing they said is that the Cowboys play with zero emotion. (Does that sound like a familiar complaint?) The thinking is that they don’t need an X’s and O’s coach. They need someone to instill some fire in the team. Singletary — or someone of his ilk — would be perfect for the Cowboys job if Wade Phillips is shown the door.
As Singletary said last week, after he interviewed for the Cowboys job, Jones told him that he wished he had known him better. Jones narrowed his choices to Phillips and Norv Turnver before selecting Phillips.
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49ers: Jamie Martin (third QB), CB Reggie Smith, WR Arnaz Battle, WR Josh Morgan, S Dashon Goldson, C Cody Wallace, LB Ahmad Brooks and OT Jacob Bender.
Chilo Rachal gets the start at RG in place of Tony Wragge, who started the first 10 games of the season.
In pregame warmups, Michael Robinson is practicing handing off and making option pitches to Frank Gore and DeShaun Foster.
Cowboys: Brooks Bollinger (third QB), WR Miles Austin, RB Felix Jones, CB Quincy Butler, LB Justin Rogers, G Montrae Holland, G Joe Berger, T Doug Free.
CB Terence Newman (groin) is in uniform and we assume he will start. Here’s an article I wrote today this morning on the Romo-Owens relationship. Tony’s key to to dealing with Owens: Don’t listen to him.
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NIners won the toss and will receive.
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–Rossum returns kickoff to the 28.
–Hill delivers 21-yard pass to Bruce. Rachal is in the starting lineup. Vernon Davis remained
–Bruce with a 17-yard catch on third and 14. Bruce took quite a hit but held onto the ball. Bruce is bleeding in the back of his head and he’s out of the game.
–On third down, Hill throws it away because of pressure.
–It’s a 52-yard attempt for Nedney. No good. The Cowboys take over at their own 42. with 10:40 left in the quarter.
–INJURY UPDATE: Bruce has a head “laceration.” His return is probable.
–Third and 5 for the Cowboys. . . .Jason Witten makes the catch with the 49ers in their nickle package. Michael Lewis fell in coverage. Lawson was not on the field. It’s a first down.
–Now, it’s third and 6 from the 49ers’ 37. Romo and Owens not on the same page. Incomplete. it’s fourth down, and the ‘Boys will punt.
–Touchback. So the 49ers will take over at the 20 with 7:53 remaining in the quarter.
–Jason Hill is on the field in place of Bruce. Gore rushes for 7 yards. Bruce returning from the locker room now.
–Bruce is back on the field. Offside on Ratliff gives the 49ers 5 yards and a first down.
–Bruce with his third catch of the first quarter. It’s close to a first down. It’ll be a gain of 9. Second and 1.
–A healthy Bryant Johnson with a 12-yard catch.
–Bruce with a 34-yard reception of a hobbler from Hill, who was hit as he was throwing. The 49ers have the ball at the Cowboys’ 4.
–First down, Hill throws it away in the back of the end zone.
–Sorry, the internet went down on me.
–On third down, Anthony Henry mugged Bryant Johnson but it wasn’t called.
–The 49ers settled for Nedney’s 23-yard field goal. It’s 49ERS 3, COWBOYS 0.
–Nice defensive play from Nate Clements to knock Owens out of bounds before he could get two feet inbounds. The Niners force a three-and-out when they had Owens covered deep two plays later.
–Hill and Vernon Davis combine for a beautiful play to the 4-yard line. It’s a 47-yard gain, as Davis was working against Cowboys safety Ken Hamlin on a corner route. That was a nice catch from Davis, and one that has given him problems in the past. He had to make a catch down the field running at full speed.
–Big letdown for the 49ers, as they fail to capitalize. Nedney with another 22-yard field goal. Now, it’s 49ERS 6, COWBOYS 0 on the final play of the first quarter.
–Witten catches a pass out of bounds. Phillips throws the flag to challenge the play, despite the replay appearing to show Witten’s second foot was out of bounds. Referee Mike Carey will examine it more closely.
–The call stands. Witten was out of bounds because even though his tow was down, the heel was out of bounds. Therefore, in the course of making a natural step, Witten was out of bounds. Got it?
–It’s third and 8 . . . Romo hits Terrell Owens on a 75-yard touchdown. Clements tried to strip Owens of the ball at the 15-yard line, rather than tackle him. The 49ers blitzed on the play, And just like that, it’s COWBOYS 7, 49ERS 6 with 13:54 remaining in the half.
–The 49ers had two first-and-goals from the 4-yard line, and settled for field goals. That’ll kill ya. If Clements had just made the tackle, the 49ers’ defense would’ve had a chance to hold Dallas to a field goal, too.
–Hill gets dropped for a sack, as Anthony Spencer roasted Billy Bajema, who was trying to block him.
–Now, it’s third and 18 from the SF 9. . . .And that’s a coverage sack from DeMarcus Ware, his 12th of the season.
–Carlos Polk breaks free off the left side to block Lee’s punt. The ball rolls out the back of the end zone for a safety. COWBOYS 9, 49ERS 6 with 12:02 remaining in the half. And the Cowboys will get the ball back after the free kick from the 20.
–Looked like Michael Robinson, the fullback on the punt team, missed the assignment to pick up Polk on the blocked punt.
–Terrell Owens with a dropped pass.
–It’s third and 20 . . . short pass to Barber for 8 yards to the 29. The Cowboys will punt.
–Rossum with a non-contact injury to his right ankle. He falls down and Sam Paulescu’s punt rolls to the 1-yard line for a 70-yard punt. Rossum is in pain. The 49ers training staff is working on him. He’s on his feet now and being helped off the field. Mike Singletary is out there with Rossum.
–Gore for no gain.
–Gore for 2 yards.
–Third and 8 . . . .Niners with three wides . . . Gore with the call up the middle. No gain. Now, Andy Lee is punting out of the end zone again.
–Not a great punt. Patrick Crayton returns it 12 yards to the 49ers’ 35 with 8:20 in the half.
–INJURY UPDATE: Allen Rossum has a right ankle sprain. His return is questionable. That might mean that Clements will be back returning punts for the rest of the game.
–Romo’s second down pass is broken up by Lawson, who was rushing the QB on the play. Lawson was not in on first down. And now he’s off the field on third down.
–Third and 5 . . . Romo’s pass for Williams is incomplete. Clements did a nice job on Owens on the other side, by the way.
–Nick Folk with a 48-yard FG attempt. It’s good. That makes it COWBOYS 12, 49ERS 6 with 7:23 remaining. The 49ers are hanging in there. The defense has done a great job . . . with the exception of that one play.
–The Cowboys must be afraid of Delanie Walker’s return prowess. Folk’s kick goes out of bounds. The Niners take over at the 40.
–Robinson takes the direct snap with Hill split out wide right. Robinson hands off to Gore for 3 yards.
–Hill with a nice job to get away from the rush and get a 5-yard pass to Bruce.
–On third and 2 . . . DeMarcus Ware defending Gore down the field and he breaks up the pass down the field. Hill wasn’t able to put enough air under that pass or it would’ve been a TD.
–Lee’s punt bounds into the end zone for a touchback. Cowboys take over at the 20.
–Owens with another big play against Clements, a 45-yarder. Owens gets away with a nice little push to create space to make the catch. Clements never turned around to see the ball.
–It’s third and 10 from the SF 30 . . . Barber with a 7-yard reception. They’ll hold the Cowboys to a FG attempt.
–Folk with a 41-yard FG attempt. it’s good. That makes it COWBOYS 15, 49ERS 6 with 3:02 remaining in the half.
–Niners take over at the 19. They need to at least chew up enough clock so they don’t give the Cowboys a chance for more points.
–And just when I type that . . . Hill and Heitmann fumble the exchange. Zach Thomas recovers for the Cowboys at the 19. Thomas was never touched and he ran it into the end zone for a TD. But Carey said the whistle blew, ending the play. The Cowboys got robbed on that. But, also, what were the 49ers’ offensive players thinking????
–Barber with a 4-yard run to give the Cowboys a first and goal from the 7 at the two-minute warning.
–Barber with rushes of 2 and 4 yards to the 1.
–It’s third and goal from the 1, and the 49ers have not been good in these short-yardage situations. I’d think this is four-down territory for the Cowboys. It should be Barber up the middle, and I’ll bet the 49ers can’t stop it.
–Sopoaga got fantastic penetration and might have blown up that play if it were a run (but if it were a run, the Cowboys would’ve blocked it differently). But Romo with a play-fake hits Martellus Bennett on a TD versus the pass coverage of Takeo Spikes. It’s COWBOYS 22, 49ERS 6 with :52 remaining in the half.
–How will the 49ers respond in the second half? The Cowboys will get the ball to open the second half. This is the worst-case scenario for Shaun Hill and the 49ers.
–Niners at the 15. Hill dumps it off underneath to Robinson. Niners in hurry-up mode.
–Hill again with a short pass to Robinson for 2 yards. Get ready to see a bunch of short passes underneath the Cowboys defense in the second half. That’s the end of the first half.
–Owens vs. Mark Roman. No contest. That’s 52 yards to the SF 22.
–Roy Williams gets his first catch vs. Walt Harris, who has done a nice job up to this point. But the Cowboys have the ball first-and-goal at the 10. Man, this has a chance to get ug-leee.
–Ten-yard TD to Crayton with Haralson trying to run with him. Now, it’s COWBOYS 29, 49ERS 6 and the rout is on with 12:04 left in the quarter.
–Delanie Walker with a 32-yard return to the 40.
–Vernon Davis is wide open down the seam. The throw was bad (low), but it was catchable.
–Another off-target pass from Hill, but Johnson bails him out with a nice, diving catch for a first down to the Dallas 39.
–Bruce and Hill with a nice pitch and catch to the 25-yard line for another first down.
–Third and 2 . . . incomplete to Bruce. The 49ers are send out their FG unit to cut it to a 20-point game.
–Nedney from 35 yards . . . it’s good. That makes it COWBOYS 29, 49ERS 9 with 8:23 left in the third.
–Niners should get the ball at the Dallas 20, as Lawson intercepted a backward pass from Romo. The officials ruled that it was an incomplete forward pass. So Mike Carey’s crew messed this one up on two different levels. The 49ers have challenged the call.
–The 49ers win the challenge. It’s the 49ers’ first winning challenge of the season. They’re calling it a Lawson interception, but if it were a backward pass, it should probably be a fumble recovery.
–Doesn’t matter. Henry intercepts a weak Hill throw in the end zone. The Cowboys take over at the 20 on the touchback.
–On third and 7, it’s Owens for 17 yards. He was covered (or not) by Donald Strickland on that play.
–Clements with a HUGE hit on Jason Witten down the field to break up a pass. Romo sort of hung Witten out to dry. That might be the hit of the season. Witten gets up after several moments and gets off the field under his own power. Maybe the wind was knocked out of him. Heck, it was knocked out of me and I’m a hundred yards away.
–Williams with a third-down reception against Tarell Brown’s coverage. Cowboys with a first down at the 27.
–Lawson with a sack. This guy MUST get on the field more. He makes plays. But — guess what? — Lawson comes off the field on the very next play as the 49ers go with another defensive back.
That’s the end of the third quarter. BTW, Owens has five catches for 197 yards — that’s the second-most yards of his career.
–It’s third and 12 for the Cowboys. Witten is back in the game. Incomplete on the pass to Owens. Clements with the PBU.
–Folk with a 47-yard FG attempt. It’s good. COWBOYS 32, 49ERS 9 with 14:49 remaining.
–BTW, as I predicted earlier, it was not an interception for Lawson. Because it was a lateral, it is a fumble recovery for Lawson.
–I’ll field a few questions while I have a chance.
–Three and out for Shaun Hill and the offense after incomplete, sack, incomplete.
–Zeigler with a nice tackle of Crayton on the punt return. It was a 54-yard punt by Lee, and a 4-yard return.
–The Cowboys get to midfield but have to punt. Clements is deep for the 49ers. It flies over his head and into the end zone for a touchback. Clements just leveled, decleated, rookie Orlando Scandrick.
–Tank Johnson called for roughing Hill after a completion to Bruce. Niners have the ball at the 42.
–Scandrick roughs the passer, as he tries to take it out on HIll. Niners have the ball at the Dallas 43.
–Greg Ellis beats Adam Snyder around the outside to pick up the sack. That’s a loss of 5 yards.
–Zeigler with a nice catch. That guy has some great hands. It’s a gain of 30 yards to the Dallas 18.
–Hill finds Bruce for an 18-yard TD. Hey, it’s a 16-point game — a two-score game — with 8:20 remaining. It’s COWBOYS 32, 49ERS 16.
–Robinson recovers Nedney’s onside kick, however, Clements was offsides. On the re-kick, Barber gathers it in for the Cowboys. They’ll take over at the SF 41.
–Folk is on for a 42-yard FG attempt. It’s good. That makes it COWBOYS 35, 49ERS 16 with 5:06 remaining.
And I have to head down to the locker rooms. I’ll check back in after I return.
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